Photo by Barbara Jackson

What does spirituality mean to you?

Prayer Spirituality

Prayer Spirituality – Photo by Barbara Jackson via Pixabay

Can you define spirituality?

What it means to one person is often very different than what it means to another.

Dictionary definition of spirituality

…define spirituality, spiritual, and spirit…

The definition of spirituality is more than what the dictionary suggests. The Random House Dictionary defines spirituality as “the quality or fact of being spiritual”. (There are a few other meanings – see the rest here.)

Okay, cool! But don’t you love it when a dictionary defines a word with another word you have to look up in order to understand the definition? The definition of “spiritual” is “of or pertaining to the spirit or soul, as distinguished from the physical nature”. (Reference)

Here we go again! What is this “spirit” the dictionary talks about? Spirit is defined as . . . “the principle of conscious life; the vital principle in humans, animating the body or mediating between body and soul.” (Reference)

What spirituality isn’t

…spirituality isn’t religion.

I don’t mean to disparage religion. Many people learn spirituality through their religions. However spirituality is beyond the rules and dogmas of any religion.

Spirituality is a universal human experience of divinity, of nearness to the Source of Spirit. Religions can be the ladder through which we ascend into spirituality. Some religions start with this purpose then later become obscured with rules, traditions, dogmas, and rigidity. In my religion, Christianity, we call this “legalism.”

Spirituality is amazingly individualistic. It is there for all of us to awaken to… like the sunshine at dawn. Everyone is welcome; nobody is excluded except by their own decision to remain in darkness.

At one time this article resided at the long-gone Squidoo site. Here are some definitions of spirituality given to me by visitors to that page.

“Religion is a word I never use. Mine is a relationship with the living God, who promises to never leave or forsake us. The world has so many religions and terms that confuse. I follow the Bible–God’s love letter to humanity. Words like “spirituality” seems so vague and watered down. I do like conversations like this, though, and appreciate that you’ve written this. You’re right; everyone feels differently. Thanks for taking time to open a conversation!” – Seedplanter Spirituality has a different definition based on each person’s values, education, and faith. so it is hard to come up with a general concept.

It is also a matter of experience, and the culture we are living in. My point is that we need to believe in something, this will make us strong, but the way in which we choose what we believe in is again based on everybody’s parameters.

I was born in a Christian family and educated and raised this way so this is my higher power. – MicheyLM

Spirituality is for me a connection with God, humans and the earth. – Siobhanryan Spirituality is, for me, a connectedness to a higher power. – Diana Wenzel
Spirituality consists of the identities we create within ourselves to deal with the enormity of the world in which we find ourselves. We are creatures with a great capacity to perceive existence. We see great distance with telescopes and peer into the small world with microscopes. We contemplate existence and our place in it and wonder at the tau of the child. We begin with nothing and throughout our lives we try to fill the emptiness with understanding. – JustOneGuy The definition for spirituality should be very simple: Life. Without life there is no spirituality, so living means being spiritual. So every human is spiritual and our lives are just expressions of our spirit. And of course you could start a discussion about how spiritual someone is, but that is not important as we can not live the lives of others. So discussing or judging other people’s lives on their spirituality is like trying to decide how much life somebody is living. As we can not know what the spirit of someone else has planned for its life in the human body, we can not judge its spirituality. Besides judging spirituality is like trying to judge water on how wet it is. Be my guest, but also be prepared to be judged as a little bit foolish. – Normyo Yonormyo
I think what I cannot see or touch physically, but I feel from my heart, something nonphysical which dictates my many aspects of behaviors and many things — that is spirituality. I believe humans have spirit and that is the main part of ourselves. Our body is just made up of electrons, protons and neutrons and those are obviously not spiritual. – Wonderbook For me spirituality is the exploration of and realization of who/what I am beyond this physical, emotional and intellectual body…and beyond space/time. – Anonymous
Spirituality is what we are. Religion is what we do. – OMENa777 Very hard to describe! That inner feeling that you are here on earth for a reason and that there is something at work that is greater than yourself! – Sandy Dell
Spirituality is our innate urge to transcend materiality and to reunite with our spirit, and with God, the source of our spirit. – ocoyorg It is the recognition of that part of you which is your soul-self. – Marilyn Bryant
That small or loud voice inside that is reverent. – CoolAunt Spirituality is our call to reunite with the One who created us. – LindaJM

Please use the comment form at the bottom of this page to share your thoughts on spirituality.

“Spirituality is a universal human experience of divinity, of nearness to the Source of Spirit.” Uhm… what divinity? What Source of Spirit?

If spirituality deals with stuff for which there is no evidence, like the existence of some soul that somehow… “transcends” physical existence (how does that even work?), then I’d rather opt out of that. Without science to support this, “spirituality” is not different than religion. Both are based on faith. Both are make-believe.

I’d rather pursue my own peace of mind, happiness and personal growth grounded in reality, thanks! – Neoglitch17

Here’s a working definition of Christian spirituality.